WWI Wrecks

The British cruiser HMS Drake in the United States in 1909.
The British cruiser HMS Drake in the United States in 1909. On October 2nd 1917 HMS Drake was was torpedoed by the German U-boat U-79

Divers reminded not to disturb protected wrecks off Northern Ireland

A prolonged period of sunshine and calm seas over the summer has led to an increase in the numbers of people visiting the historic wrecks which lie off Northern Ireland's shore.

Of the 340 known ship and plane wrecks within Northern Irish waters, only two have special levels of protection;  La Girona, a warship of the Spanish Armada which sank near Portballintrae in 1588, and HMS Drake, a WW1 cruiser that was torpedoed by a German U-Boat in 1917 and sank in Rathlin Bay.

Admiral Graf von Spee's famous flagship, SMS Scharnhorst. The wreck has now been located off the Falkland Islands

Wreck of Famed WWI Heavy Cruiser SMS Scharnhorst Discovered off Falklands

The wreck of the German battlecruiser SMS Scharnhorst, sunk by the Royal Navy during the First World War with the loss of all her crew and Admiral Graf von Spee has been found in the South Atlantic. SMS Scharnhorst, the flagship of the East Asia Squadron which was once the scourge of the Royal Navy, went down with most of the rest of the formation on December 8, 1914, in the Battle of the Falkland Islands.

The battlecruiser sank on Dec. 8, 1914, with more than 800 crew members on board, including German Adm. Maximilian Graf von Spee.

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Scharnhorst bow
Until 2003 one of the questions concerning the sinking of the Britannic "was she torpedoed or did she hit a mine"? The 2003 Spencer Expedition found and mapped the German minefield. Exped leader Carl Spencer later co-founded EUROTEK with fellow expedition members Leigh Bishop and Rosemary E Lunn

Britannic100: "Ship Of Dreams Sunk"

HMHS Britannic was the largest ship to sink during World War I. (Weighting in at almost 50,000-tons she was also the largest ship in the world).

Many argue she is one of the most beautiful, intact, well-preserved passenger liners accessible to divers. It is little wonder that these factors, and the story behind her construction and sinking continue to capture divers imagination.

Imperial Russian submarine Akula (Russian: Акула - Shark) and armoured cruiser Ryurik, 1913

WW1 Russian submarine located by Estonian divers

The 400-ton Russian submarine, commissioned in 1911, was the biggest in the pre-revolutionary Russian navy. During the first world war, she served in the Baltic Fleet making 16 patrols and unsuccessfully attacked the German coastal defence ship SMS Beowulf.

In November 1915 during her 17th patrol, she struck a mine and sank near Hiiumaa with the loss of all 35 seamen and came to rest at a depth of about 30 meters.